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House Gets Ready to Vote on New Worldwide War

House Gets Ready to Vote on New Worldwide War

By Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office at 1:06pm

A hugely important provision for Congress to authorize a new worldwide war has been tucked away inside the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill was marked up by members of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) last Wednesday that poured into Thursday morning (2:45 a.m. to be exact).

Mass Con-Fusion

By Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office at 5:01pm

You mean to tell me that it is legal for corporations from the private sector to team up with local law enforcement officials in efforts to spy on innocent members of our society? You also mean to tell me that the synthesis of law enforcement authority and the drive of for-profit companies operate under little to no guidelines or restrictions and it is unclear to whom they are responsible to?

Welcome to the world of fusion centers, where according to an article by Eric Schmitt of The New York Times, Surveillance Effort Draws Civil Liberties Concern:

A growing number of big-city police departments and other law enforcement agencies across the country are embracing a new system to report suspicious activities that officials say could uncover terrorism plots…

…Officers are filling out terror tips sheets if they run across activities in their routines that seem out of place, like someone buying police or firefighter uniforms, taking pictures of a power plant or espousing extremist views.

Really, taking pictures of power plants? Espousing extremist views? These actions are worthy of being written up in a daily intelligence briefing on terrorism? I never knew taking pictures of power plants was illegal or could be suspicious enough to be considered a potential terrorist threat. And last time I checked the First Amendment was still intact and protected the freedom to voice your own views.

 

Cracked Reasoning

By Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office at 12:40pm

"Crack the Disparity," our big red buttons read.  

"This isn't tough on crime! This is exploiting the low-hanging fruit!" a woman exclaimed as she passed out Good Humor chocolate bars that were wrapped in paper that read:

Stop Senseless "junk food science." The weight of 1 candy bar in crack = 10 years in federal prison. Two-thirds of Federal crack cocaine cases are prosecuted for possession of the weight of the 50-gram candy bar in crack cocaine.
One needs a good sense of humor if you think these laws are just.

With the addition of my third cup of coffee, these rallying cries and props were definitely getting me in the mood to lobby at 8 a.m. this morning.

Although I have interned at three public policy advocacy organizations here in D.C., today was my first time experiencing a lobby day. I was quickly energized by the passion that spread from the folks I squeezed in next to in the Russell Senate building hearing room.

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